The B.C. SPCA says seven mutilated cats have been found in the Metro Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge in the past week — months after officials first issued a public warning about grisly cat killings in the area.


Eric Wernicke's cat, Buttercup, was one of the cats killed in the past week. When Buttercup failed to come home Thursday night, the family posted a picture of the cat online in the hopes of finding him.


"We got a response from a lady, she lives about four or five blocks away — they found the severed head on the front lawn."


Wernicke later found Buttercup's tail lying on a street corner right under a sign for another missing cat.


"I contacted the SPCA ... and she told me it wasn't an animal that had cut the head off it was actually done with a tool."


He says losing Buttercup has been hard on the entire family.


"If it was a car that hit her or a coyote that got her, it's kind of the nature of things — but this guy out here? Hopefully somebody finds him," Wernicke said.


'Cut directly in half'


Police and the SPCA first spoke out about the cat killings last fall, and warned the public again in March after 15 mutilated cats were found.


Investigators say the animals found this past week were killed the same way as those found earlier this year.


"The animals are cut directly in half with a sharp object, their bodies placed in someone's yard, park, somewhere they're going to be found," said SPCA spokesperson Laurie Chortyk.


At this point, she says, the SPCA has not identified any suspects.


"We've done necropsies of all the bodies we've taken in to try and determine if there are any clues on the bodies, but unfortunately there's nothing that's led to a person of interest," Chortyk said.


"We know there must be someone out there that has either seen something, may know this person, may have heard something — any information anyone has, we would love to hear that."


The mutilations in the area started in June 2011. In September, police reported three cats had been dismembered and dumped on the lawns of homes around Maple Ridge.


Police and the RCMP also reported at least seven cats had been found cut in half in White Rock, Surrey and Langley in Oct. 2010.